shark Anglers urge politicians to protect Scottish sharks No less than 215 anglers from throughout the UK participated in the 2009 Scottish Sharkatag organised by the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN).

The Sharkatag had three goals:

- To highlight the perilous state of the endangered shark species.

- To gather data to support claims for their protection.

- To press politicians and fisheries managers to recognize the needs of the sea angling community and its contribution to the Scottish economy.

The information gathered during the Sharkatag will feed into SSACN’s Scottish Shark

Tagging Programme; a program dedicated to broaden our knowledge of shark, skate and ray stocks in Scottish coastal waters.

Attending anglers caught, tagged and released various shark species from boats, kayaks and the shoreline of Solway in South West Scotland, and what they found was worse than expected.

It really worries me that many of the tope packs have failed to

show this year“, says Ian Burrett, SSACN’s Project Director. “The whole region seems to be void of the expected male breeding stock and the fish caught were mostly immature females, typically under twenty pounds and a few solitary females in the 50-60 pound range; Luce Bay was especially poor for the time of year.”

The Tope shark (Galeorinus galeus), also known as the School shark, Soupfin shark and Snapper shark, is a type of hound shark found at depths down to 550 metres (1800 feet). It can reach a length of 2 metres (6.5 feet) and is listed as Vulnerable at the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The situation was equally worrisome for several other species of shark and ray.

Around two hundred tope, smoothhound and bull huss were tagged over the three days and that can only be described as poor compared to what the total should have been, says Burrett. Combined with the lack of rays tagged, only three throughout Sharkatag, it shows how urgently plans are needed to helpprotect and regenerate the stocks. Twenty year ago virtuallyevery boat would have recorded several mature tope and rays.”

You can find more information at the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network’s website www.ssacn.org and the website of SSACN’s Scottish Shark Tagging Programme www.tagsharks.com.